Sexism

David Cowling, Mathews, Dinsdale & Clarke partner and alleged booty dancer

Sometimes law firm after-hours parties get pretty wild. The Great Recession didn’t put a damper on one Toronto firm’s celebrations last year. In January 2009, Mathews, Dinsdale & Clarke threw a rager in honor of its annual labour law “moot” competition for Canadian law students. (We mentioned this story briefly in yesterday’s Non-Sequiturs.)

After awards were given out at a dinner, the lawyerly crew headed to Toronto night club Cheval, for bottle service and dancing. Things got a little crazy. One senior associate got so hammered that “he left the club without his coat or keys and vomited in the taxi cab as it left the club.” And one partner, David Cowling, allegedly got too friendly with some of the female associates while grinding on the dance floor.

Two associates complained about his behavior to other partners, and now Cowling is suing the two associates (who have since left the firm) for defamation and intentional interference with economic relations.

So what did they allege?

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It seems the world can’t get enough of Debrahlee Lorenzana, the former Citibank employee who alleges she was fired because she was “too hot.” She’s been making the rounds of the morning talk shows, and people have been absolutely gushing about her figure, which allegedly got her fired.

But could you call her body an attractive nuisance to the men and women who supposedly persecuted her for her beauty? Perhaps, since it now appears that Debrahlee’s boobs were not endowed, but acquired. Dealbreaker reports:

In this clip of her aforementioned knockers surgery, … she says she pumped them up to meet “a professional, well-educated man.”

Dealbreaker has a full clip of Debrahlee’s appearance on Plastic Surgery New York Style. Click here to watch it.

You could say that the video defines the word “busted”….

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You know something is capturing cultural attention when your mother asks, “Did you write about that woman who got fired for being attractive?”

Earlier this week, the Village Voice ran a cover story on a woman who is suing Citibank for wrongful termination. She claims that her bosses found her too hot — and thus distracting to the other people trying to do their jobs.

I know, I know — pictures or it didn’t happen….

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Or make that a cucumber of one. Remember this allegation, from the lawsuit filed by former case manager Hanh Nguyen Allgood against the prominent Richmond law firm of Williams Mullen?

When the [office elevator] doors closed, [partner] Robert Eicher pretended to be sad and depressed. He asked Allgood for a hug. When she complied, he pressed his genital area against Allgood’s left thigh. Allgood felt something hard pressing against her thigh and attempted to pull away from him. Eicher held Allgood tighter to prevent her from pulling away, and pressed his genital area against her thigh even harder. Allgood was horrified. She pushed him away and stepped back. In response, Eicher laughed and pulled a cucumber out of his pants pocket.

We’re sorry to disappoint all you lovers of law firm gossip, but sadly, we won’t be hearing testimony in open court about the cucumber incident….

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It’s funny how being laid off really puts all of your workplace problems into perspective. The Wall Street Journal reports that more and more men are claiming they are victims of sexual harassment:

Since the start of the recession, a growing number of sexual harassment complaints have come from men. Some 16.4% of all sexual harassment claims—or 2,094 claims—were filed by men in fiscal 2009, up from 15.4%, or 1,869 claims, in fiscal 2006, according to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

While male victims sometimes experience behavior like groping and unwanted sexual advances, employment lawyers say increasingly “locker room” type behavior like vulgar talk and horseplay with sexual connotations have been the subject of claims.

Has there been an outbreak of office grab-ass that I’m not aware of? Not quite. Instead, there has been an outbreak of men losing their jobs …

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Williams Mullen is a prominent Richmond-based law firm that is “100 years strong,” according to its website. For 18 of those years, Vietnam native Hanh Nguyen Allgood, 53, was a case manager for the firm. She left in March 2007.

Apparently, the departure was not “all good” with her. She has filed a $950,000 lawsuit against the firm, alleging discrimination and sexual harassment, according to Style Weekly.

Litigation partner Robert Eicher bears the brunt of Allgood’s sexual harassment allegations. According to her complaint [PDF], he asked when he first met her whether “her vagina was vertical or horizontal,” a reference to “a horrible racial slur bandied about by some American soldiers during the Viet Nam War contending that Vietnamese women had vertical vaginas.”

And then there was the cucumber incident….

UPDATE: A statement from the firm has been added after the jump.

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deirdre dare expat allen and overy.jpgWe have another episode in the saga of Deidre Dare, one of our favorite laid-off lawyers. She was an attorney in Allen & Overy’s Russia office until she penned typed a salacious online novel about her expat adventures, which featured lots of drinking, sex, drugs, donkeys, and dwarves. After the firm let her go, she sued.

Dare’s still in Moscow, where she writes an often controversial column for the Moscow News called sExpat. The latest reveals that Deidre likes it rough:

Anyone who has spent even five minutes in bed with me knows that I have a strong proclivity for S&M. My experience in the area ranges from the mild (spanking) to the extreme (ball gags, golden showers and the like), according to how much experience my partner has and what he or she likes.

The column goes on to praise Russia’s abusive men. Dare writes: “If you’re hanging out with real men and you’re a little slutty, you’re going to get hit. Period.” Roll On Friday photoshops A&O’s chairman into being a “real man” here.

Ed. note: We at Above The Law do not condone physical violence against women. We do, however, condone violence against the commenter ShaFeef.

In a previous column, Dare said money was tight and suggested that prostitution might be a way out of her money woes. That might have led to more hitting than even Deidre likes. Luckily, she’s come up with a different way to make money. She’s written another book. Its title, fittingly, is SLUT.

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cadwalader strip club summer associate outing.jpgSummer associates have landed at offices across the nation. They’re working harder this year, even if some of the work is fake, and they’re eating out less often. But the Biglaw recruits are still having fun — sometimes too much fun.

We’ve been asking you about the big events for this year’s summers — concerts, movie previews, booze cruises, etc. Look out for contest finalists soon!

Cadwalader may have already established itself as a front runner in the competition. Last week, the firm took its summers to see a Mets game. Afterwards, some of the attorneys and summers went from Shea to shady. [FN1] From a knowledgeable source:

After the game, some of the male associates took some of the male summers out for some “after-event” bonding. The problem with this bonding is that it was a trip to the strip club. I’m not sure if the firm knew about the afterparty event or if it was sanctioned by or expensed to the firm, but this certainly seems to send a message of exclusion to women; or at least — even if any female summers attended (which none did) — that the firm not only tolerated but supported the objectification / degradation of women that occurs at these venues.

The firm was aware of the outing, but it doesn’t support these Cadwalader cads. The official response, after the jump.

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dont be an asshole.JPGYesterday we introduced you to DB (not his real name — please keep it that way), formerly an associate at Sullivan & Cromwell. At S&C, and in law school before that, DB became notorious for bragging about his wealth and making politically incorrect remarks.

We collected some of his impolitic quips in our prior post, and other anecdotes surfaced in the comments (e.g., here and here). For your reading pleasure, here are a few more stories:

  • In law school, at a firm reception in the Time Warner center, DB got drunk and started going on about how he was wearing crocodile shoes that cost thousands of dollars and how his brother drove a more expensive car than the partners at the host firm.
  • At an S&C firm retreat, the same one where he made his comments about the ballet, DB was placed in charge of entertainment for one evening. This included brainstorming for the “S&C Superlatives” contest, which is supposed to feature innocuous, yearbook-style items like “Miss Congeniality,” “Best Smile,” or “Most Athletic.”

    The items suggested by DB? “Sluttiest Partner” and “Partner Most Likely To Sleep With His Secretary.”

  • DB once said, to a highly attractive summer associate he encountered in the hallway, “You really aren’t that hot. Everyone thinks you are, but outside of here you really aren’t.”
  • In fairness to DB, he has his defenders and positive attributes. One tipster describes him as “a bright guy,” and another as “nice in a weird way,” as well as unusually generous and thoughtful at times. A third raves about his hotness, including “six-pack abs and amazing arms.” As for the sexist (and homophobic) quips, they may be best attributed not to malice, but to personal issues that DB is probably still working through.

    His colorful comments, however, aren’t what got DB in truly hot water. Find out what did, after the jump.

    double red triangle arrows Continue reading “How To Get Fired (or Asked To Resign) from Sullivan & Cromwell (Part 2)”

    dont be an asshole.JPGAh, Sullivan & Cromwell. It’s a top law firm — not just in prestige and profits, but also blog fodder. See, e.g., Carlos Spinelli-Noseda (partner who defrauded firm and clients of half a million dollars through expense fraud); Aaron Charney (associate who sued the firm for antigay discrimination, while still employed there).

    When people leave 125 Broad Street, they go out with a bang. Today, courtesy of several tipsters, we bring you the tale of another former SullCrom employee who departed under less than ideal circumstances. Let’s call him “DB,” short for “douchebag.”

    (To those of you who find the term offensive, we say: if it’s good enough for the Second Circuit, it’s good enough for ATL. Also, we use it affectionately.)

    During law school, DB developed a reputation “as a racist, sexist jerkoff who always flaunted the fact that he was wealthy.” Here’s why:

  • His first words upon meeting his law school roommates: “Hi, I’m DB. I’m independently wealthy.”
  • In a class discussion about price discrimination and consumer choice, he said: “Sometimes when I’m in a real hurry, I am forced to fly coach.”
  • At a law firm reception, he said to the attorneys, “Don’t you miss the good old days when there were no girls at a place like this, except for hookers and strippers?”
  • This charming lad then made his way to 125 Broad Street, where he joined GP (general practice; S&C-speak for “Corporate”) at Sullivan. Now, S&C pays well — in addition to generous base salaries and year-end bonuses, they pay supplemental bonuses to senior associates. But DB was unimpressed:

  • “My allowance used to be bigger than whatever I earn from this place. I feel so poor now that I’m working.”
  • Read more about his rudeness, after the jump.

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